Category Archives: Poetry of others

Telling Not Showing

Telling Not Showing

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/11/opinion/booze-revisited.html?_r=0

The above link is to an article on alcoholism written by Dick Cavett. I don’t agree with all Dick writes, e.g. Dick implies that he sees nothing wrong with some people taking a small drink as a means of coping with stage fright. In my opinion, using alcohol to self medicate for any reason is unhealthy. Addiction in all forms is a subject I have strong feelings about. Both stories in the link are compassionately written (there’s a link to a second story contained in the intro of this one, you just click on the word ‘here’.). They touched me deeply. My father was an alcoholic and I have battled various addictions during my life. Addiction and mental illness run like a winding river through my family.

I loved my dad and miss him very much. He had 10 years sober (bliss) when a chronic illness (not alcohol related) forced his early retirement from a job he loved, a job he’d held since he stopped drinking. He’d found his niche, took pride in his promotion to manager, I think he discovered his self respect in this job. Not long after his retirement he began drinking again, telling us (and himself) he could now be a social drinker. It only took a few months for my loving, gentle, delightful dad to once again become an alcohol obsessed, often morose stranger. He died just after his 67th birthday. We were all with him, and we all loved him.

My son adored his Poppa Thomas, and was devastated by his death. He wrote the poem, Thomas, after dad’s funeral. After years of battling depression then drug addiction, Ken , ‘followed’ his Thomas, 8 years after he wrote the poem. As many of you know, Ken died by his own hand.

I’m reposting Ken’s poem, Thomas, because I believe his words show far better than I can tell, what it’s like to love a person who suffers from any addiction. Ken’s words also show that it’s possible to see past the addiction to the heart of the person.

Tricia 1/2014

Thomas

A picture is all I have
To remind me of your life
This emotion runs so deep
Oh why can’t I follow you

Your wisdom and your heart
Greater than your legacy
Of the ones you left behind
Oh why can’t I follow you

I long for the time
When your smile meet mine
Tucked gently inside a bottle
Oh why can’t I follow you

I weep at the reflection
In the eyes of your wife
For since you said goodbye…
O why can’t I follow you

A soul so weightless
The wind took you from me
I never got to show you
Just who you were to me

This lid is sealed so tight
On your final kiss
Tasting death on your lips
Please wait for me

Kenneth Bertram

Memories of a Boy and his Dad

In Australia it is the afternoon on the last day of 2011. I awoke this morning with my being filled with memories of past New Years Eves , and the ache of emptiness that comes on what were previously special days.
 
Instead of posting a poem of my own, I have decided to share with you two poems, one written by my son Ken, and the other by my husband Rod. 
 
The first poem Thomas, was written by Ken after the death of his beloved Poppa. My father was a loving, lovable man who battled alcoholism all his adult life. My father and my son shared a very special bond, as Ken’s words achingly convey.
 
The second poem A Woman Calls, was written by my husband a week after he had stood with his hand on my shoulder, supporting me while I made the call to America to tell my son’s former partner and lifelong friend, of the suicide of our darling Ken. 
 
These poems may seem sad, and yes in some ways they are, but for me they are also a celebration of the lives of two special men who were gifted with the qualities of loving empathy, and poetic expression.
 
Thomas
 
A picture is all I have
To remind me of your life
This emotion runs so deep
Oh why can’t I follow you
 
Your wisdom and your heart
Greater than your legacy
Of the ones you left behind
Oh why can’t I follow you
 
I long for the time
When your smile meet mine
Tucked gently inside a bottle
Oh why can’t I follow you
 
I weep at the reflection
In the eyes of your wife
For since you said goodbye…
O why can’t I follow you
 
A soul so weightless
The wind took you from me
I never got to show you
Just who you were to me
 
This lid is sealed so tight
On your final kiss
Tasting death on your lips
Please wait for me
 
Kenneth Bertram
 
 
A Woman Calls
 
It is late at night
when the phone calls out
in a room so far away
As a woman sits in a sunlight room
and ponders what she’ll say
 
The receiver clicks
and she listens
to hear the gentle greeting “Hi”
She steels her resolve to speak her piece
but first she makes a sigh
 
She speaks not of betrayal
nor of a man who has run
She speaks to tell the other
of the death
of her only son
 
Two women linked by a common bond
for a man they each caressed
Now linked in common grief
feeling only despair
bereft
 
Their tears touch cheeks
fall on heaving breasts
as they share the dreadful tale
And as their grief hits home
their sobs become a wail
 
The common link is broken
as they both put down the phone
the bond remains between them
‘though each must grieve
alone
 
In separate rooms in distant lands
they weep for one another
They weep for themselves
they weep for him
His Lover and his Mother
 
Rod Bertram 1/9/1999
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